SRINAGAR: Two months after army released a list of 12 most wanted militants in Kashmir, security forces have killed three top Lashkar-e-Toiba militants figuring in the list including the most wanted militant and LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana in volatile south Kashmir.
After south Kashmir comprising four districts Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and Anantnag emerged as hotbed of militants with free movement of militants, army and security agencies launched an “All Out” operation to target militant leadership and end the “no go zones” for security personnel few months back.
In view of the sensitivity of the situation, the army brought additional battalions to the Valley and deployed all of them in the volatile areas of south Kashmir to restrict the free movement of militants and deny them safe-havens, an army official said.
He said the army men set up camps in some key areas of south Kashmir, which restricted the free movement of militants.
“Besides the security agencies strengthened their intelligence network. We had to revive our contacts on the ground and technology was also used to keep watch on the movement of militants,” the official said.
He said the setting up of camps and reactivation of intelligence network proved helpful in locating and killing militants and top commanders.
On August 1, security forces achieved a major breakthrough when they killed LeT’s Kashmir chief and most wanted militant, Abu Dujana and his associate Arif Dar in an encounter at Hakripora village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
He was the longest surviving foreign militant in Valley and was active since 2010.
Dujana, who was A++ categorised militant, was involved in almost all major attacks in last two years.
Earlier, on July 1, Dujana’s long time associate and another top LeT commander, Bashir Lashkari, was killed by security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Lashkari, a local militant, was involved in attack on a police party in Achabal, Anantnag in which six policemen including a Station House Officer (SHO) were killed. Besides, he was also involved in many other attacks.
On June 16, another LeT’s top commander Junaid Matoo was killed by security forces. He was active since 2014 and was said to be brain behind some militant attacks and recruitment of local youth into Lashkar.
Dujana, Lashkari and Matoo figured in the list of 12 wanted militants issued by army on June 1.
An army official said killing of three top LeT militants in two months indicates that operation “All-Out” is going on expected lines.
“We are targeting the militant leadership to break the militancy in the Valley. Without leadership, militants on the ground cannot work and they cannot plan attack on their own,” he said removing militant leadership would weaken the militancy.
Nine militants now figuring in army’s hit list include former Hizb commander Zakir Rashid, a close aide of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
Zakir was recently named as head of Kashmir cell, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, by Al-Qaeda.
Other top militants in the list include Zeenat-ul-Islam alias Alkama (LeT), Wasim Ahmad alias Osama (LeT), Showkat Ahmad Tak alias Huzaifa (LeT), Reyaz Ahmad Naikoo alias Zubair (Hizb), Saddam Paddar alias Zaid (Hizb), Mohammad Yasin Ittoo alias Mansoon (Hizb), Altaf Ahmad Dar alias Kachroo (Hizb) and Abu Hamas (Jaish).
Only Abu Hamas of Jaish is a foreign militant and rest are locals.
“It is a matter of time before they are taken out. We are receiving intelligence from the ground about the militant movement and acting on these inputs, security forces are conducting operations and killing militants,” he said.
Over 100 militants have been killed by security forces in the Valley this year so far.